WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Howard fell to South Carolina State, 63-50 in the semifinals of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament Friday afternoon at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Howard, which reached the semifinals with a 56-54 win over
Florida A&M on Thursday, was paced by Zykia Brown with 13
points and MEAC Rookie of the Year Saadia Doyle with 12 points and
a game-high 12 rebounds. The Lady Bison closed out their season at
Howard, who lost their only regular-season meeting between the two teams 74-67 in Orangeburg, led 28-25 at the half and were ahead 36-33 with 15:25 to play, when SCSU's Mary Baker got a basket inside to trigger a 12-2 SC State run that put the Lady Bulldogs ahead 45-38 on two free throws by Sophilia Hipps with 10:22 on the clock.
Doyle got a follow shot to pull Howard to within 45-40 at the 9:51 mark, but a short jumper by Joi Walker and a free throw by Baker put the Lady Bulldogs ahead 48-40 with 6:39 left on the clock.
Howard turned up the pressure on defense, creating back-to-back SC State turnovers and fueling a 9-6 Lady Bison run that closed the gap to 54-49 when Tamoria Holmes canned a 3-pointer with 1:15 remaining.
The Bulldogs responded by scoring nine of the game's final 10 points, with all but two coming from the charity stripe, five by Tiara Knotts and two by Whitney Wiley.
Howard head coach Niki Reid Geckeler said her young squad fell
victim to a hot team.
"Today, we caught a team that was playing well in South Carolina State," she said. "That was demonstrated in their two previous games. They showed a lot of focus and we'd like to congratulate them.
"But, our future is bright," she continued. "We have nine freshmen and will be losing only one senior so I'm excited."